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Top 5 Challenges Facing the Modern CFO in Asia

Our inaugural CFO Panel Series discussion in conjunction with CPA Australia, AustCham and Ambition on the 'Top 5 Challenges Facing the Modern CFO in Asia' took place this week. Our panellists consisted of Keith Chan, Chief Financial Officer, North Asia at Maersk Line, Jeffery Chan, Finance Director, Extended Southeast Asia at Triumph International and Prudence Tam, Chief Financial Officer, Verizon Asia Pacific. As well as our speakers we had a full house of CFO and senior finance professionals in the audience. 


The discussion focused on the key challenges that the modern is CFO facing in their current roles in Asia as well as sharing insights on how to overcome these challenges. Although everyone had slightly different views on what their “Top 5” consisted of, broadly the list of the top challenges we discussed can be summarized as below:

  • Talent development, attraction and retention

  • Leading finance transformation / change management

  • Managing technology / driving innovation / big data

  • Driving revenue growth

  • Doing more with less (driving cost efficiency)

  • Uncertainty (Global market conditions / international economic & political issues / rapidly evolving regulatory & compliance landscape)

  • Disruptions in conventional business models

What was very clear from our discussion is the role of the CFO is constantly evolving and has moved away in the last 10 years from traditional finance into a role with a much wider scope. The modern CFO acts as a true business partner to an organization, advising on business strategy, driving revenue growth, talent attraction & retention, encouraging innovation and driving the use of technology in the business. We concluded that many of the challenges a modern CFO is now facing would not have been challenges in the role of the more traditional CFO of the past and the ability to react and adapt quickly when faced with uncertainty is critical.

Many thanks to our panellists and to all those who attended and if you are interested in attending our next CFO Panel Series discussion in Q1 2016 please get in touch. If anyone thinks we missed any challenges that should also make the “top 5” please let me know!

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